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Virtual Museum of Canada

The George Cross

The George Cross Origin and History

The George Cross The George Cross (GC) was founded on 24 September 1940 by King George VI. The George Cross was awarded primarily to civilians only for acts of the greatest heroism or of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme danger. Awards to the military services were confined to actions for which purely military honours were not normally granted and awarded for actions not in the face of the enemy.

The George Cross is a plain silver cross, 1.8 inches wide. The obverse is a circular medallion in the centre of the cross that shows St. George slaying the dragon surrounded by the words "For Gallantry".

The mounting is a straight silver, laurel bar, slotted for the ribbon, with a ring lug below, that is joined to the cross by a small silver ring, which passes through the ring lugs of the bar and the top of the medal. The garter blue ribbon is 1.5 inches wide. A miniature cross is worn on the ribbon in undress. Women may wear their cross from a bow.

The name, rank and service (serial number for those not commissioned) and the date of notification in the London Gazette are shown on the reverse of the cross.

There have been a total of 10 George Crosses awarded to Canadians; 8 military, 1 merchant navy and 1 woman (see below).

Summary of Canadians Awarded the George Cross

Doreen ASHBURNHAM-RUFFNER (converted from AM)
George BASTIAN (converted from AM)
Ernest FROST (converted from EGM)
Karl GRAVELL, RCAF
Roderick GRAY, RCAF
James HENDRY, Canadian Army
John PATTON, Canadian Army
John RENNIE, Canadian Army
Kenneth SPOONER, RCAF